California to Lead Nation on School Start Time Policy Authored by Pasadena-Area Senator

Published : Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | 5:42 AM

Pasadena area State Senator Anthony J. Portantino’s school start time bill SB 328 has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

California will become the first state in the country to mandate that high schools and middle schools start later in the morning.

The bill is based on over three decades of research on teen health, sleep patterns and brain chemistry. SB 328 seeks to align school start times with the biology of teens. Overwhelming research shows that when the school day starts later, Portantino said, our children are significantly healthier and perform better in school.

The California PTA sponsored and supported SB 328. While pediatricians and researchers from across the country united behind the bill, it faced stiff opposition. That opposition led to a veto from Gov. Brown last year. This year, Gov. Newsom saw things differently and put our children’s health and welfare at the forefront of education policy.

“Today, Governor Newsom displayed a heartwarming and discerning understanding of the importance of objective research and exercised strong leadership as he put our children’s health and welfare ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change,” Portantino said in a statement Monday.

Beginning over three decades ago in Minneapolis, researchers began studying the brain chemistry of teens. They found that teens require almost 10 hours of sleep per night to be healthy but receive far less in today’s complicated society. By moving school start time later teens achieve more sleep and consequently are healthier and happier, he said.

SB 328 was sponsored by the California PTA, EdVoice, and Start School Later. It has near-unanimous support from the healthcare community and is based on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Senator Portantino has worked closely with the California PTA to put student health first in the conversation. We are grateful for his dedication to the late school start initiative and for the opportunity to partner with him on this effort. When teens get enough sleep, they are safer, healthier and do better in school. The California State PTA is proud to co-sponsor this bill and looks forward to helping implement this historic initiative across our state,” added Carol Kocivar, California State PTA.


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